Three free tax assistance programmes to entrepreneurs from Peru, Ecuador and Honduras have won the audiovisual awards announced by EUROsociAL+. The winning videos describe the impact of volunteer work by students from the Accounting and Fiscal Support Centres (NAF) on their communities.
Lucy is the second of three siblings and the first to study for a university degree in her family of potato farmers. They are Quechua speakers from the rural community of Yanacona in the Chincheros district, at an altitude of 3,700 metres, in the Cuzco region. “I want to be an entrepreneur and run my own business. I want to improve my skills and knowledge, manage my own company and, above all, to support my family, who are my main motivation,” explains Lucy.
At 21, Lucy Sallo Llihuac is studying Accountancy and is manager of the Accounting and Fiscal Support Centre (NAF) of the National University of San Antonio Abad del Cusco (UNSAAC), the educational centre that recorded the video starring her that won the Audiovisual Contest ‘The NAF as a lever for social inclusion in times of COVID-19’, convened by EUROsociAL+.
When she joined the NAF Programme promoted by the National Superintendency of Customs and Tax Administration (SUNAT), Lucy provided free tax guidance to craftswomen knitting garments with sheep’s wool (sweaters, gloves, hats, blankets). They are microentrepreneurs who want to grow by formalising their businesses, but who may not know how to achieve it. “I believe that we have reached most of the entrepreneurs who committed to contribute to the development of our country by complying with their tax obligations and formalising their businesses, since they are now aware of the advantages and benefits,” says Lucy.
As a consequence of the pandemic, tourism, one of the city’s main sources of income, was completely restricted in Cusco, leading to unemployment and informal work. At the end of the quarantine, Lucy and her companions gave in-person guidance in Quechua to artisan women whose businesses are still affected by the pandemic. “This programme has helped me a lot. I had to stop being shy and learn to be confident. I also had to be well prepared, because they had a lot of questions,” Lucy explains.
These Accounting and Tax Support Centres (NAF) are a higher education initiative through which accounting and business sciences students, trained by the tax administration, give free accounting and tax assistance to low income individuals and micro-entrepreneurs, while the students themselves improve their professional abilities and ethical attitudes.
EUROsociAL+, together with the Federal Revenue Service of Brazil, has been promoting NAFs in Latin America since 2014, with the aim of reducing inequalities, strengthening confidence in institutions, facilitating access to tax services and encouraging voluntary compliance with tax obligations. There are currently more than 600 NAFs in higher education institutions in Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico and Peru.
With the aim of highlighting the NAFs’ experiences of social innovation and human nature, as well as their impact on the community and on students, EUROsociAL+ has convened the Annual NAF 2.0 Audiovisual Innovation Award, as a lever for social inclusion in times of COVID-19, aimed at videos showing these initiatives.
The idea behind this competition was to give visibility to the work carried out by universities, teachers and students, who with their actions in the NAF establish links between institutions and the community, reducing social exclusion and developing communication strategies that improve social interaction and contribute to the exercise of citizenship.
The countries where NAFs are present and which entered the competition carried out a preliminary selection to choose the videos which would represent them at regional level. Based on this, EUROsociAL+ chose the winning productions, taking into account the impact of the NAF, the context, the gender approach, creativity, structure and audiovisual quality.
A scene from the video presented by Ecuador, which won the second prize
Ecuador obtained second place with an video produced by the Technical University of Cotopaxi . The production shows the strategies developed by NAF students during the pandemic. The social innovation proposal is shown through the use of technological means (Meet platform, WhatsApp, messaging) and personalised assistance under privileged sectors under biosecurity measures. All this has been supported by the Internal Revenue Service (SRI) through student training.
The third winner in the Contest organised by EUROsociAL+ was Honduras, with the video ‘Let’s strengthen entrepreneurship in times of pandemic’. The production tells the stories of two beneficiaries of the Economic Autonomy Module of the Ciudad Mujer Programme, which, despite the difficulties caused by the confinement due to the pandemic and the impact of storms Eta and Iota, found a way to keep their small businesses going. With the advice of the NAF, they found out about the tax benefits available, the online services that the Revenue Administration Service (SAR) provided, and were able to learn more about the Law of Support for Micro and Small companies. The video summarises the assistance lent by Universidad Tecnológica de Honduras (Technological University of Honduras), Ciudad Mujer and the Tax Administration to female entrepreneurs.
One of the Honduran entrepreneurs featured in the third-prize-winning video.
The three winning videos of the Audiovisual Contest ‘The NAF as a lever for social inclusion in times of COVID-19’ will be broadcast on the EUROsociAL+ social networks. In addition, two representatives of the National University of Saint Anthony the Abbot in Cuzco, the first prize winner, will present their experience at a meeting organised by the EUROsociAL+ Governance Area entitled ‘Political and social events for a new Latin America’, which will take place in Valparaíso, Chile from 12 to 14 January 2022.
Borja Díaz Rivillas, Senior technician in Democratic Governance of the ES+ Program at FIIAPP